Interior Photography

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Peanuts, Aug 3, 2006.

  1. Peanuts

    Peanuts TPF Noob!

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    Later today I have been asked to take several photos at a showhome for a family friend who was the interior decorator. Up until this point I haven’t had the time to really study any techniques so as of right now I have several magazines, websites and books with short blurbs regarding interior photography laid out on the table trying to take in as much as I can. As a final resource I thought I would come here and take in any additional tips.

    Prior to this thread I did search the forum for any relating topics and though I did find a few I have several other questions.

    My list of ‘things to bring’ as of right now consist of:
    • Canon 350D
    • Canon 10-22mm (borrowed), which I am thinking right now will be my main lens for ‘full room’ shots, but I am concerned about distortion. Minimal distortion I am confident I can ‘hide’ in photoshop, so I believe in most cases I will shoot at 22mm. Any opinions?
    • Canon 50mm. This will be for more of the ‘fine details’
    • Canon 17-85mm (borrowed) This is more of a backup if I find the 22mm is too wide/distorting the images
    • Tripod
    • Release cable
    • Core foam board – to act as a reflector
    • Canon 580EX flash. I am assuming if this was used (though I would probably prefer to use mostly natural light) it would be best to bounce off a ceiling behind me
    • White balance ‘sheet’
    • Polarizer (?)
    Any suggestions as to exposure? From what I have been looking at, one shouldn’t be overly concerned regarding overexposure in the windows. This would be a wonderful time to borrow a light meter, but I didn’t think about that part before. One other option would be to attempt some HDR.

    Any suggestions, examples, hints etc. would be wonderful!

    Thank you


    Here are two best examples of the showhome taken by the interior decorator
    http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b118/Peanuts_Schroeder/CalBridgeShowhomesCochraneBradsh-1.jpg
    http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b118/Peanuts_Schroeder/CalBridgeShowhomesCochraneBradshous.jpg

    Edit: I should mention the lighting probably isn't ideal, as it is a few hours after noon, so none of that 'nice' light.
     
  2. Your tripod is your salvation. Shoot wide, but expect to crop out a 5% rim amount. This will also discard your worst distortion.

    Do not use the flash. Unless you have good control over the lighting, it will be your enemy.

    Turn on all lights in the house. DO NOT be afraid or too lazy to move furniture if you don't like the shot. Also, more is less.

    Make three bracketed exposures of each shot, so that you can expose for interior as well as details that may be exterior (if there is a window in a shot with something interesting outside.) As you say, you can then add in elements from one shot into the other, or try the HDR method, as you propose. You may find that HDR looks too artificial.

    You can take the shot that is exposed for interior lighting, and cut out a window. Feather it for one pixel only. Then put the exterior exposure underneath it, and - presto - the window will be as well exposed as the interior.

    Don't forget to shoot some vignettes. Those are isolated elements that could be considered details of the space. Composition is everything, so have elements in it that hint to the rest of the room. Sure, focus on the nightstand, but include the side of the bed, and a part of the curtain.
     
  3. Philip Weir

    Philip Weir TPF Noob!

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    Hi "Peanuts" If I may be critical and helpful at the same time. The samples you submitted are quite poor quality. They should have been straightened, and a flash used [bounce] to balance the window light with the interior.

    With respect to "Iron Flatline" A tripod in fact can be helpful, but most of the time, when I shoot interiors, I don't, as it's much faster without it, and with me, time is of the essence. I just very carefully view the scene through the viewfinder. Yes, turn on lights and move furniture. Definately use your flash, but bounced for a more natural effect to balance the scene. I appreciate you can strip the windows in, but to be professional and save time, always attempt to get the original shot as perfect as possible without giving yourself extra work in Photoshop. For many, many years I shot film and never had the advantage of Photoshop, so had to make the original shot perfect. I personally seldom crop my shots. I appreciate a wide-angle distorts, but that can be to your advantage. A good quality WA lens doesn't distort as much as an inferior lens, and there is software available to correct barrel distortion. See shots attached. Philip.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    www.philipweirphotography.com
     
  4. Peanuts

    Peanuts TPF Noob!

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    Can't thank the two of you enough for all your help. I will have to be thinking on my feet, as I will only have about 15 min. prior to it being 'opened', and when people are coming through, of course I will have to make room for them. The examples and suggestions are just what I was looking for.

    Just as conformation, the photos I posted were taken by the decorator herself just to give me an idea before I go, so all I know is that I strive to come out with much better results. (Now, it would be quite embarassing if I don't, but I won't think on that right now)
     

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